Fire officials reported some good news on Thursday morning as far as their effort in battling the Sequoia Complex Fires, but added the fire continues to be active.
On Thursday morning they stated with a break in the weather, fire crews were able to effectively put in and strengthen control lines on the fire's edge.
The Sequoia Complex, which consists of the Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness, did continue to grow to 122,835 acres as of Thursday morning. The fires remain at 12 percent contained.
The Castle Fire has burned 122,011 acres while the Shotgun Fire has burned 824 acres.
Fire officials stated “The western flank continues to be the top priority and is still exhibiting active fire behavior.”
Fire officials stated Wednesday was another active day as the fire grew 8,515 acres. Fire officials added another active day was expected on Thursday. And fire officials went on to say today fire growth would be reinforced by faster winds.
Fire officials also stated the fire crossed over Highway 190 near Cedar Slope in multiple areas. “Through the day and night, firefighters have been working to improve and strengthen contingency lines in the area,” fire officials stated.
They added crews were preparing for the fire's likely movement toward Ponderosa and the Tule River Indian Reservation.
On Wednesday, fire officials stated the fire ran toward Ponderosa from the northwest and northeast with multiple spot fires. A defensive line is being formed around Ponderosa.
In Quaker Meadow, the fire spotted south as it moved toward Peppermint. Active fire is on both sides of Highway 190, fire officials stated.
Fire officials added if conditions were appropriate, burnout operations would be implemented on the east side of Ponderosa on Thursday.
A notice has been issued at the Tule River Reservation no traveling to higher ground on the road that goes from the reservation to Camp Nelson is being allowed.
Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman said he fire has reached Mountain Home State Forest and Balch Park.
The following areas remain under mandatory evacuation orders: Ponderosa, Pyles Boys Camp, South Fork, Redwood Drive, Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest, Doyle Springs, Highway 190 from the intersection of Balch Park Road (The White Barn), north to Blue Ridge Lookout, east to Moses Mountain, south to Highway 190 at Mahogany Flat, Camp Nelson, Pierpoint, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire and Cedar Slope.
Springville from Glove Drive to Balch Park Road remains under an evacuation warning. For all evacuation orders and warnings visit https://www.facebook.com/countyoftulare. Tulare County residents are also encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at alerttc.com.
There have been 150 structures destroyed by the fire. There are 3,183 structures that are threatened.
Among the structures lost is the Jordan Peak Lookout. There have been 35 single family structures lost in Sequoia Crest, 42 single family structures lost in Cedar Slope and 22 single family structures in Alpine Village.
Tulare County has a structure assessment form for people who are affected by the Sequoia Complex. The purpose of the form is so county officials will have citizens' contact information and can be contacted as quickly as information is available. Be advised damage assessment will begin as soon as it's safe for personnel to enter the area. The structure assessment form may be found at https://tinyurl.com/y6dws4d8
There have been 14 firefighters who have sustained minor injuries as a result of battling the fire. Norman said all of those firefighters will be able to return to battle the fires.
So far there have been no reports of any civilians being injured as a result of the fire.
There are now 1,260 personnel on the fire. There are 73 engines, 27 water tenders, 14 helicopters, 20 hand crews and 19 dozers being used to battle the blaze.
Fire officials had originally estimated September 30 as a date for containment, but now state expected full containment is unknown.
The following roads remain closed: Highway 190 at Balch Park Road: Balch Park and Bear Creek; Balch Park and Yokohl; Mountain 50 and 109; Mountain 99 and Sherman Pass; and Sherman Pass and Cherry.
Smoke was expected to lift from the Kern River Valley by mid-morning on Thursday and heavily return Thursday evening. For current air quality, visit: https://fire.airnow.gov/.
The Red Cross has an evacuation center at Porterville College. Call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit https://tinyurl.com/yafetgkj for more information.
For current information on California Highways, visit https://dot.ca.gov/ . Other road closures may be in effect.
The current Temporary Flight Restriction may be found at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_3991.html The use of drones over the fires is prohibited.
Priorities of protection include: Communities under evacuation orders, Casa Vieja, Blackrock Ranger Station, Rogers Camp, Beach Meadows, Monache Meadows, structures along the Lloyd Meadows Road, Freeman Grove, the President George H.W. Bush Tree, Camp Whitsett, archeological values, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and Little Kern Golden Trout Critical Habitats, Pacific Fisher habitats, OSA, Beach, and Beck Meadows, trailheads and facilities.
Individuals who would like to donate items such as bottled water, non-perishable food and hygiene products can do so at the Parenting Network, 770 N. Main from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 793-2527.